Pray for Our City

Posted by Dave Clayton on

One of my favorite passages in scripture is found in Jeremiah 29. The people of God have been begging God to bring them out of exile, and God sends them a prophecy that surely caught them a bit off guard. Through the prophet Jeremiah God says:

"Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there, do not decrease. Also seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." - Jeremiah 29:5-7

I can't imagine how disheartening it would be to have God answer your prayer for freedom the way in which he answered the people through Jeremiah. Not only did God say no to their request for instant freedom, he said settle down, meet a girl, get married, have kids, and grandkids. 

In other words, God said..."You will live the rest of your life in this city -- whether that was in your plans or not."

It made me think, how do I respond when God answers my requests by saying no?  When he says no, do I still trust and believe that He is good and in control? 

I love the last part of verse 7. Right after God has given the unpopular news, right after he has made it clear that the people will spend the rest of their lives in this foreign city -- God says pray for the city. Pray that it prospers.

Isn't this the essence of our lives? We know this is not our permanent home. Life here is not always a walk in the park. Our surroundings don't always match up with the life we have begged God to give us.

So how will we respond? Will we complain or will we settle down, build houses, and pray for our city?
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